Jay A. Dubow, a partner with Pepper Hamilton, a member of the firm’s White Collar Litigation and Investigations Practice Group and a co-chair of the Securities and Financial Services Enforcement Group, was quoted in the December 28, 2018 Los Angeles Times article, "New Tesla Director Larry Ellison Is a Friend of Elon Musk. Will He Stand up to the Mercurial CEO?"
But whatever the SEC might have envisioned, "independent" is a legal term in this case, and under the settlement "being friends does not make one not independent," said Jay Dubow, an attorney at the Pepper Hamilton law firm who worked in the SEC's enforcement division early in his career.
There is nothing unusual about a chief executive choosing a friend or close acquaintance to their board of directors, Dubow said. "Most people usually pick people they know to serve on their boards."